Play comes naturally to children. When first playing with other children their age, babies and toddlers play alongside one another. As they move from toddler to kindergarten years, they begin to play cooperatively together with the same theme and purpose.
Although it is common for children to want to be the one in charge of the play, they somehow figure out how to play with their peers and get along by making compromises. Asperger’s Disorder children do not figure this out. While they are interested in playing with their peers, they are more interested in using their playmate for their own purpose rather than to have a mutually rewarding play experience.
Play problems of the Asperger’s Disorder child include:
• Limited cooperative play
• Narrow range of play interests
• Highly repetitive play behaviors
• Limited imaginative play
• Dominating the play
More than simply being bossy, the Asperger’s Disorder child uses her playmate almost as another toy, something she can direct and maneuver to her liking. She has no interest in the fun of actually being with her peer and playing “together.” If her peer does not play exactly how she wants him to, the fun is ruined.